Dunedin’s former Kavanagh College renamed after years of lobbying

Blessed with a new name, Dunedin’s former Kavanagh College is now officially Trinity Catholic College.

A dawn service before the start of the 2023 academic year drew about 20 pupils, sexual abuse survivors and members of the public to witness the new era for the school.

Kavanagh College’s name was officially changed on 1 January, following years of lobbying from abuse survivors.

The new name was chosen after an inquiry last year concluded the late Bishop John Kavanagh did not act on a complaint of abuse when he was Bishop of Dunedin from 1957 to 1985. The former Kavanagh College had been named after him.

At the dawn service, Dunedin’ Catholic Bishop Michael Dooley said the early start was chosen to represent beginning in the dark and working your way into the light.

He noted the symbolism of that was very important to both Māori and Christians.

“We seek to have light shone in the darkness and our hope and prayer is that this school will be a place where the light will shine.”

Dooley also acknowledged the sexual and physical abuse that had occurred at the school.

The Church “has not responded well to that”, he said.

“That’s a part of our history that we need to acknowledge honestly so that we can go forward.”

Those at the service were then led around each part of the school and the school grounds as Dooley and Sr Sandra Winton OP blessed it with water from three significant sources: Wellers Rock, Toitu Stream and Lourdes, France.

Male Survivors Otago spokesman Michael Chamberlain said the ceremony marked the first time he had stepped foot inside his old school since 1976.

“One would hope that moving forward, things can only be better.

“We are very mindful that abuse is not a historical event of the past, and that everyone needs to be vigilant moving forward as well, as we know it still occurs today,” he said.


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News category: New Zealand.

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